Saturday, July 30, 2011

Community Improvement District - 10 Quivira Plaza

Well, this is coming up again.  The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 8th at the City Council meeting at 7:30PM.

If approved, this would also include a 1/2% sales tax just on the shops in that center.  The basics are that  $4.2 million is needed for the revitalization of the shopping center.  The ownership is putting up $2.8 million and the balance ($1.4 million) would come from the extra sales tax.

This is another one of those items that needs citizen input................pros and cons.

One thing that I find intriguing is that just like last time, the item did not come before a committee but directly to the full council.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Mill Levy Increase

Whooopeeee.  Some folks are making noise about how the city budget did not include a mill levy increase.

Of course not.  We have our 5% franchise fee.  Wheeeeeeee.  OK, let's use the KISS theory.  Your utility bills have a franchise fee on them.  The fee is 5% of the utility bill.  Basically that goes back to the utility because that is what the city is charging them and state law allows the utilities to pass that on.  That is why, when it came up in the summer of 2009 many folks (including me) spoke out against it.  See what happens, is that everytine the utility rates go up, that 5% goes up.  Every time you use more gas and/or electricity your bill goes up (think super hot summer or super cold winter...look at next month's bill for the effect of the July heat), and your 5% franchise fee amount goes up.

Way back when..............I said that eventually folks might forget it was the city that levied this and would start holding it against the utilities. 

So, there are folks who can pat themselves on the back and make themselves look and sound good for not raising the mill levy............but just look at that franchise fee.  Up, up and away....... in our rising utility costs, translated to franchise fee, translated

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where Did $79 Million Go?

Unless you were at the Shawnee City Council meeting Monday night you probably cannot answer that question.

The point I'm trying to make is that unless Shawnee citizens get involved they have no idea how the council is spending their money. 

Monday was a perfect example of what I have been saying for a long time.  During the business from the floor portion (after the budget hearing), a member of the community got up to say how unhappy he and other folks in his subdivision were with some recent street repairs.  Personally, I do not know if his complaints was valid or not.  What I do know is that he, like just about everybody else, never showed up at various council meetings when it was discussed how certain street repairs had to be modified.  They were never there when it was discussed how certain repairs, for budgetary reasons, had to be cut back.  And, he and others were not there to discuss, at the budget hearing, the various points of how to use the Deffenbaugh impact fees (infrastructure, eco development or a combination).

And are he and his neighbors among the high percentage of Shawnee residents who vote in Presidential elections, but sit home for City Council elections.  Don't believe me?  Here are the numbers, for Shawnee:

2008 Presidential election  40,791  registered voters   32,177 actually voted

2010 City Council election   39,862 registered voters  3,890 actually voted

That means that 78.9% of Shawnee citizens voted for President, but only 9.8% voted in the last city election.

The elected body that controls local taxes, provides emergency services, maintains streets and parks, plows snow,  etc only less than 1 out of 10 residents get involved to the point of voting.  How many show up at council and/or council committee meetings?  Usually the number can be counted on the fingers of one hand, if that many.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Tonight's the Night

Apologies to Rod Stewart....................but.............tonight's the night.

Yepper, the Shawnee budget hearing is tonight.

Will you be there to see how the city uses your money?
Will you be there to tell them what you agree with?
Will you be there to tell them what you disagree with?

Are  you interested in seeing and hearing how tens of millions of your dollars are being spent?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coming to a City Hall Near You

Monday, 7/25/11 coming to the Shawnee City Hall will be the public hearing for the 2012 budget.

Come see how the city spends your money.
Come speak on the items you agree with.
Come speak on the items you disagree with.
Come take part in the governmental process that has the most effect on your daily lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Budget Public Hearing - Mon 7/25/11

This coming Monday the Shawnee City Council will hold a public hearing on the amended 2011 budget and on the 2012 budget.  The council meeting starts at 7:30PM.

As stated on numerous occasions it is amazing how little interest Shawnee citizens take in local government.  Yet it is local government that has the most effect on our daily lives.

There are numerous items in the proposed 2012 budget that folks need to look at, among them:

Economic development vs street maintenance
A proposed volunteer program with a proposed paid coordinator
City contributions to various organizations

It would be nice for folks to turn out, listen, and even comment.  And, see and hear how your elected representatives vote on these issues.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Upcoming Public Hearings

Public Hearings at the City Council are very important events. They are one of the major ways that citizens can voice their approval or disapproval regarding items that the council will be voting on.

Unfortunately, most folks in Shawnee do not get involved at these hearings. They just wait until after the fact to ask "How did that happen?" or "Why didn't that happen?" are the two that are coming up:

Budget Hearing: This will be on Monday, 7/25/11, at 7:30PM. Both the amended 2011 budget and the proposed 2012 budget will be voted on by the council. Get involved with how your money is being spent.

Community Improvement District: This will be on Monday, 8/8/11, at 7:30PM. The ownership of the 10 Quivira Plaza Shopping Center (Quivira Rd and Shawnee Mission Parkway) have applied for the property to be designated a CID. This would involve the ownership investing funds for upgrades and the levying of an additional 1/2 cent sales tax for part of the upgrades, applicable only to the shops in that center.

What happens at these hearings will have a definite impact on Shawnee and its citizens. People need to get involved.

As we get closer to these hearings I will be posting some opinions regarding certain items.